Rockets beat Pistons 105-96

James Harden has 37 points, 12 assists in Houston debut

  • Rockets-Pistons-Basketball-harden

    Houston Rockets guard James Harden drives to the basket against Detroit Pistons center Greg Monroe duringg the first half tonight in Detroit.


  • Houston Rockets guard James Harden goes to the basket past Pistons guard Brandon Knight during the first half Wednesday in Detroit.
    Houston Rockets guard James Harden goes to the basket past Pistons guard Brandon Knight during the first half Wednesday in Detroit.

    AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — James Harden had 37 points and 12 as­sists in a stir­ring de­but for Hous­ton, and Car­los Delfino made four 3-point­ers in the fourth quar­ter to lift the Rock­ets to a 105-96 vic­tory over the Detroit Pis­tons on Wed­nes­day night.

    Detroit led 83-72 early in the fourth, but Harden and Delfino brought the Rock­ets back. Hous­ton ac­quired Harden on Satur­day night in a trade with Okla­homa City and agreed Wed­nes­day on a five-year, $80 mil­lion con­tract ex­ten­sion with him.

    The reign­ing Sixth Man of the Year cer­tainly looked worth it in the sea­son opener. Harden fell just short of his ca­reer high of 40 points, and his 12 as­sists were a ca­reer best.

    Bran­don Knight led Detroit with 15 points.

    Jer­emy Lin, Hous­ton's other big ac­qui­si­tion, had 12 points and eight as­sists. The Rock­ets won with­out Patrick Pat­ter­son, who was out with a left quad strain.

    With Hous­ton down 11 points, Harden started the come­back with a 3-pointer, and Greg Smith fol­lowed with a dunk. Detroit led 85-83 af­ter con­sec­u­tive 3-point­ers by Delfino, then a layup by Chan­dler Par­sons tied it.

    Smith dunked to put the Rock­ets ahead 89-87, and he dunked again to make it a four-point game be­fore hob­bling off with an ap­par­ent in­jury.

    A dunk by Detroit's Jonas Jere­bko cut the lead to two, but Delfino made two more 3-point­ers to make it 97-89.

    Harden pretty much put the game away with a three-point play with 1:27 re­main­ing that put Hous­ton ahead 104-94.

    At­ten­dance was an­nounced at 16,646, and there were plenty of empty seats on Hal­low­een. The fans who did turn out saw an en­ter­tain­ing per­for­mance by the Pis­tons that ul­ti­mately fell short.

    Harden scored 19 points in the first half, but Detroit led 58-55 af­ter a 36-point sec­ond quar­ter.

    The Rock­ets led 65-58 af­ter Harden's two-handed dunk off a nice one-handed bounce pass from Lin. The Pis­tons looked ter­rific for the rest of the quar­ter. They scored 13 straight points — in­clud­ing con­sec­u­tive dunks by Greg Mon­roe and Ja­son Max­iell — to take a 71-65 lead.

    A 3-pointer by Harden cut the def­i­cit to two, but Detroit ran off an­other eight straight points and led 79-69 fol­low­ing a bas­ket by Kyle Sin­gler.

    It was 81-72 af­ter three quar­ters.

    NOTES: Detroit's Co­rey Mag­gette was out with a left calf strain. ... Harden was in the start­ing lineup. He started only seven games in three sea­sons in Okla­homa City, as he de­vel­oped into an in­dis­pens­able re­serve. ... There was a brief de­lay near the end of the sec­ond quar­ter when what looked like steam be­gan com­ing out of a gen­er­a­tor be­hind one of the bas­kets.


    TORONTO — George Hill scored the go-ahead bas­ket with two sec­onds left, com­plet­ing the Pac­ers' rally for a sea­son-open­ing win.

    David West scored 14 of his 25 points in the fourth quar­ter, and Paul George had 14 points and 15 re­bounds for the Pac­ers, who trailed 84-74 with just un­der six min­utes left. Roy Hib­bert added 14 points for In­di­ana.

    Kyle Lowry led To­ronto with 21 points, and Jonas Valan­ci­unas had 12 points and 10 re­bounds in his NBA de­but.

    SPURS 99, HORNETS 95

    NEW ORLEANS — Tim Dun­can scored 24 points, Tony Parker hit a huge 3-pointer, and the Spurs opened the sea­son with a vic­tory over the Hor­nets in the de­but for top draft pick An­thony Davis.

    Davis scored 21 points and grabbed seven re­bounds. But the wily Spurs showed the re­build­ing Hor­nets a thing or two.

    After Davis made two free throws with 1:08 re­main­ing to give New Or­le­ans its fi­nal lead, 95-94, the Spurs closed strong. Parker con­nected from be­yond the arc with 49.6 sec­onds left, fin­ish­ing with 23 points. After Greivis Vasquez missed an open 3, Dun­can pad­ded the lead with two fouls shots.

    BULLS 93, KINGS 87

    CHICAGO — Joakim Noah scored 23 points and grabbed 10 re­bounds, and the Bulls got off to a good start with­out Der­rick Rose.

    Rich­ard Ham­il­ton added 19 points, while Car­los Boozer chipped in with 18 points and eight re­bounds.

    The Bulls are out to show they can get by while their su­per­star re­cov­ers from a torn an­te­rior cru­ci­ate lig­a­ment in his left knee, and this was prom­is­ing even if it was a strug­gle.

    76ERS 84, NUGGETS 75

    PHILADELPHIA — Spen­cer Hawes had 16 points and 12 re­bounds to lead the 76ers.

    Com­ing off the bench, Hawes had five blocked shots. Jrue Hol­i­day had 14 and 11 as­sists, and Dorell Wright scored 14 points.

    Ty Law­son led Den­ver with 16 points in his first game since sign­ing an $18 mil­lion deal.